Studying the numbers on San Jose Earthquakes great start

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Sporting Kansas City shot out of the gate this year like 5th graders through the doors on the last day of school. They were off and flying.

Meanwhile, San Jose started a bit slowly before climbing steadily, and with some authority, into the Western Conference top spot. So MLS watchers have been understandably slow to catch on here, a little behind perhaps in understanding just how good Frank Yallop has the Quakes rattling and rolling.

No worries. We’ll sort it out right here. Let’s dig a bit into the numbers and see just how high this Earthquakes’ zeppelin has already risen:

Stacking up the points: Frank Yallop’s crew collected 38 points in 34 matches last year, barely over a point a game. So, 22 points from nine matches this year (2.4 points per match) is a significant improvement.

Speaking of points … : Yallop’s men have collected those points by early May, through nine matches. Last year’s team need 18 matches (exactly twice as many) to gain those same 22 points.

How high will he climb?: MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski has 10 goals this year. The math says he’s on a warpath toward something in the high 30s, which would be a league record. (Roy Lasssiter’s 27 is the current mark. Worried much, Roy?) Things do happen, so nobody can believe at this point that he’ll reach into the high 30s. (They may hope …) The point is, this is a fantastic start for Wondolowski.

About to lap last year’s total: “Wonder Wondo” scored hit 16 last year, a total that allowed him to share the final league lead. Safe to say this year’s race is going to stretch beyond that total, possibly quite a bit.

Goals in 2012 vs. 2011: San Jose has a league-leading 20 goals. They hit No. 20 for the 2011 season on July 20.

About that guy with the Brady Bunch hair: Don’t underestimate Steven Lenhart’s contributions. Four goals in seven matches may not look stunningly significant, but it represents some level of scoring dispersion, which was a big Earthquakes’ problem last year. Simon Dawkins was second leading scorer at Buck Shaw in 2011 – with a meager six goals. Bottom line on the Earthquakes in 2011: when Wonder Wondo wasn’t scoring, the Quakes usually lost. With such a wonderful variety of attacking options at Yallop’s choosing, that may not necessarily be the case this year.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.

MLS at Week 8: Galaxy host Atlanta, NYCFC aims to stay unbeaten out west

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A full weekend of MLS action kicks off on Friday night with two of the Western Conference’s elite, while Saturday and Sunday feature a number of quality matchups.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy have been quite the attraction since the Swede made his move to MLS a few weeks ago, but Sigi Schmid’s side will be in for another early-season test on Saturday when they take on a red-hot Atlanta United.

[ MORE: Sweden not keen on Zlatan’s World Cup return ]

Both sides currently sit in second place in their respective conferences, while Atlanta boasts the second-highest goalscoring total in the league to this point, with 15 goals in six games.

Western Conference leaders Sporting KC have gone unbeaten in their last six matches since their opening day defeat to New York City FC, and Matt Besler and Co. will have another opportunity to put their stamp on the conference with a crucial match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who sit third in the West.

NYCFC and FC Dallas remain on the only two unbeaten clubs left in 2018, although the latter has been far less convincing in its first five matches.

Patrick Vieira and NYCFC are coming off of a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Atlanta last weekend, and now head west to take on the Portland Timbers.

Meanwhile, Dallas plays host to the Philadelphia Union, who have taken just one win out of their first five games.

Here’s a look at the full slate of matches around MLS in Week 8.

Friday

Sporting KC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 9 p.m. ET

Saturday

Montreal Impact vs. Los Angeles FC — 1 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC — 3 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire — 3:30 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution — 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids — 9 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Atlanta United — 10:30 p.m. ET

Sunday

Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 4 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC — 6 p.m. ET